Turning Greenhouse Gas into Pure Liquid Fuel

by on September 6, 2019 · 6 comments

in Environment, World News

Lab’s ‘green’ invention reduces carbon dioxide into valuable fuels

Rice University / Science Daily / September 3, 2019


An electrocatalysis reactor built at Rice University recycles carbon dioxide to produce pure liquid fuel solutions using electricity. The scientists behind the invention hope it will become an efficient and profitable way to reuse the greenhouse gas and keep it out of the atmosphere.

A common greenhouse gas could be repurposed in an efficient and environmentally friendly way with an electrolyzer that uses renewable electricity to produce pure liquid fuels.

The catalytic reactor developed by the Rice University lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang uses carbon dioxide as its feedstock and, in its latest prototype, produces highly purified and high concentrations of formic acid.

Formic acid produced by traditional carbon dioxide devices needs costly and energy-intensive purification steps, Wang said. The direct production of pure formic acid solutions will help to promote commercial carbon dioxide conversion technologies.

The method is detailed in Nature Energy.

Wang, who joined Rice’s Brown School of Engineering in January, and his group pursue technologies that turn greenhouse gases into useful products. In tests, the new electrocatalyst reached an energy conversion efficiency of about 42%. That means nearly half of the electrical energy can be stored in formic acid as liquid fuel.

“Formic acid is an energy carrier,” Wang said. “It’s a fuel-cell fuel that can generate electricity and emit carbon dioxide — which you can grab and recycle again.

“It’s also fundamental in the chemical engineering industry as a feedstock for other chemicals, and a storage material for hydrogen that can hold nearly 1,000 times the energy of the same volume of hydrogen gas, which is difficult to compress,” he said. “That’s currently a big challenge for hydrogen fuel-cell cars.”

Two advances made the new device possible, said lead author and Rice postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia. The first was his development of a robust, two-dimensional bismuth catalyst and the second a solid-state electrolyte that eliminates the need for salt as part of the reaction.

“Bismuth is a very heavy atom, compared to transition metals like copper, iron or cobalt,” Wang said. “Its mobility is much lower, particularly under reaction conditions. So that stabilizes the catalyst.” He noted the reactor is structured to keep water from contacting the catalyst, which also helps preserve it.

Xia can make the nanomaterials in bulk. “Currently, people produce catalysts on the milligram or gram scales,” he said. “We developed a way to produce them at the kilogram scale. That will make our process easier to scale up for industry.”

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Hopper Moss September 6, 2019 at 2:35 pm

I trust everyone knows that the white cloud-like stuff coming out of those cylinders is water vapor, not life-sustaining carbon dioxide or any other life-sustaining greenhouse gas.


sealintheSelkirks September 7, 2019 at 2:38 am

You are SO funny, dude. Next stop the Comedy Club?



hoppermoss September 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm

sealintheetc, Much of the ‘smoke’ seen pouring from flue gas stacks is indeed water vapor forming a cloud as it contacts cool air. There are many articles explaining this deception used by the Climatistas that you can find by Googling: “water vapor” “smokestacks.”

Here’s one:


sealintheSelkirks September 9, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Nah, that’s not what I was commenting on. It was the ‘life sustaining CO2’ and other ‘life sustaining GHGs’ in the second half of your comment.

CO2 in the RIGHT PROPORTIONS in the atmosphere is fine; what we as a species has done since the Industrial Revolution is not anywhere near what anyone reasonably informed of the science would consider ‘life-sustaining.’

Here’s a test for you to try. Put a plastic bag over your head and exhale CO2 and inhale it for as long as you can. Make sure there is somebody with you that can remove the bag when you pass out or you will likely die from this life-sustaining GHG.

Question: do you work for one of the KOCH-funded anti-science ‘think tanks’ like Heritage Foundation or Heartland Institute etc etc? Or maybe you are in PR for Exxon whose OWN scientists warned about CO2 and Greenhouse Effect in the late 60s and early 70s and were completely censored by the Directors in favor of profits? Those are the only ones that are still blathering about this kind of nonsense.

CO2 and Greenhouse Effect was known to Science in the late 1800s. We are not a bright species…

By the way, I went back to school in my 30s, earned a university degree, and have “And Sciences” on my certificate. Do not get me going about CO2, Methane Clathrates, Permafrost, the melting off of the Arctic Icepack and subsequent destabilization of the Jet Stream. Or anything else. You’ll get an earful and I’m sure you won’t like the cognitive dissonance it will produce in your gray matter. I understand that is quite uncomfortable if not exactly physically painful.

I loved the ‘Climatistas’ remark in your reply. So…eloquent a description.




Hopper Moss September 11, 2019 at 2:43 pm

I’m guessing your university degree is an associate degree, or just a certificate – whatever that is, and from an online “university.”


sealintheSelkirks September 11, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Ahahahahahaha. You really are funny!

I even have a county library card. Isn’t that impressive?



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